The University Laboratory School Technology Professional Development Initiative (ULS Tech PD) serves as the perfect example of how the partnership between CRDG and ULS has both remained strong and continued to evolve. In 2011, CRDG engaged several schools across the state in a field test of Designing Professional Development for Educators, a resource CRDG created with the Hawai‘i Department of Education to help guide individual schools, complexes, and districts in identifying and designing programs of professional development to meet their specific needs. In conjunction with that field test, a group of ULS teachers, who are the driving force of the ULS Technology Committee, utilized the Designing Professional Development for Educators process and off- and on-line tools to develop their own school-wide, technology-focused professional development initiative. In keeping with their roles as teacher-researchers, they provided CRDG with substantive feedback meant to help revise the guide before its release to the public.
The ULS Tech PD focused on building basic fluency among the entire faculty and staff in four major areas: MacOS (school-wide operating system), PowerSchool (school-wide student information system and mandated gradebook system), Google Apps for Education (school-wide information dissemination system), and classroom hardware (hotspots/airports, projectors, SmartBoards, Epson BrightLinks, network features, server space, etc.). Although the focus was on helping the ULS community of learners to establish basic fluency, the planners hoped that the Tech PD would also help breathe twenty-first century life into the school programs. More and more, students enter the classroom with basic, if not advanced, fluency in the wide range of technological tools and methods available to them. The ULS faculty see their job as capitalizing on this knowledge and using it to bring new light to the disciplinary perspective that is the foundation of the ULS program. As the disciplines evolve and change over time, it is important to afford students the opportunity to engage in new methods of representing and disseminating knowledge in a technological society.
The initial phase of the Tech PD Planning Committee’s efforts resulted in a list of goals, a set of measurable outcomes, and a year-long skeleton structure of the lessons, workshops, resources, and other support that would drive the PD initiative. Another result of the ULS Tech PD has been the dissemination of information and best practices to other schools and programs. ULS teachers and administrators have engaged other school communities through conference presentations and visitations in imagining ways to create and implement their own professional development tailored for their unique settings.